MDC’s Idea Center, in Partnership with CISNEROS, recently Completed the Groundbreaking program FOCUS: Mujeres Emprendedoras

MIAMI, Nov. 27, 2019 – The Idea Center at Miami Dade College (MDC) recently concluded its new program, FOCUS: Mujeres Emprendedoras, with many successes. More than 200 women entrepreneurs applied with 20 selected for participation, and all 20 completed it.

FOCUS: Mujeres Emprendedoras is a 12-week program for Venezuelan women entrepreneurs based in South Florida looking to validate the scalability of their early-stage ventures. This program, which was held from Sept. 10 to Nov. 26, was done in partnership with CISNEROS.

“We are thrilled to see a 100% completion of the program. 20 entrepreneurs started and 20 completed with tangible transformations in their approaches and business sense! We feel that overall it has been a very successful program,” said Carolina Pina, FOCUS Program Coordinator.

“The connection that was established amongs the participants, as women, and moreover as Venezuelan migrants, led to an unprecedented level of engagement and a camaraderie that instantly felt like a family,” added Maria Ignacia Arcaya, SVP Social Impact and Institutional Relations at CISNEROS.

Out of the pool of applicants, 40 entrepreneurs were preselected and interviewed. This final list of 20 was chosen to participate in the program:

Alexandra Ledezma, Utrym
Alexandra Penzini, The Bright Bus
Andreina De Sales Rojas, One Well
Carolina Blaksley, Mi Vida Verde
Carolina Maggi, Mama 360 Academy
Clarisa Cosson, easylab
Damelys Dadiotis, Vianda Box
Daniella Rondon, My View by DR
Debbie Vainstein, Aliveness
Glenda Travieso, Hope Up
Greyla Alvarez, Namika
Katherine Zaatini, Flo
Leslie Gabaldon, WE Content House
Lyna Vaisberg, TRUSTWay Solutions
Mariela Briceño, Viva Debbie!
Ronit Shiro, Feppy
Susana Ceccato, HEU! Concept
Victoria Gonzalez, Snackboon
Yelka Mikolji, Indigo Technologies
Yllis Hernandez, Yllis Cakes

Throughout the program, participants improved their English skills, embraced a bold entrepreneurial mindset and went through three phases: understanding the problem, discovery of their business models and testing hypotheses of their ventures. Additionally, entrepreneurs leveraged the “out-of-the-building” approach and conducted many in-person interviews to identify their early adopters and validate their potential customers.

Under the leadership of Gustavo Grande, Entrepreneurship Program Manager for The Idea Center, various subject-matter experts from the community were invited to co-design the curriculum and experience, namely: Megan Conyers, EVP at Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association; Aaron Chavez, Partner at Argent Strategies; Julio Cañas, Founder and Chief Evangelist, Fintelhub; web developer Rebecca Willet and Sandra LeFleur, Director of Social Change at The Idea Center.

In addition to the in-class content, participants received support and guidance from Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIRs) and mentors during Mentor Day:

Gabriel Rozner, Julio Poppe, David Wiener, Andre do Valle, Hector Hulian, Sonia Hinestrosa, Carla Curiel, Eduardo Torres and Jessica Coane.

Sofia Yagüe, Jessica Shraybman, Carlos Ponce, Keith Kohler, Efrain Goldenberg, Scott Byrd, Juan Diego Henao Nydia Sahagun, Jill Leccia, Neto Almanza, Camilo Padron, Yarmeli Lares, Pedro Sostre, Diana Sanchez, Alia Mahmoud, Julia Wilkinson and Diogo Ribeiro.

After pitching their ventures to a panel of judges: Michelle Abbs, Director WIN Lab Miami, Babson College; Jorge Garcia-Tuñon, Angel Investor, Miami Angels and Maria Derchi, Miami Campus Director, TheVentureCity, the top two entrepreneurs were awarded admission into the WeWork Labs thanks to Pedro Sostre, Labs Manager. All participants received a one-year membership to the Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce, thanks to Yarmeli Lares, Board Member of the Chamber and founder of its Social Impact Committee.

For more information about FOCUS, please visit: or contact Gustavo Grande, Program Manager at

For more information about CISNEROS, please visit: or contact Maria Ignacia Arcaya, SVP Social Impact and Institutional Relations at